Arts & Culture


Walking a Fine Line at Sundance

By Ron Dicker

Laughing in the face of tragedy is a time-honored theme in film. Yet joking about one of the ultimate tragedies of contemporary history, the Holocaust, is still a rare, potentially radioactive device (and, some would say, for good reason). Jerry Seinfeld made out with his girlfriend in a theater during “Schindler’s List,” and hisRead More


Avant-garde Painter Constructs Bridges Across the Diaspora

By Elissa Strauss

For his 1966 painting “Kibbutz Composition,” artist José Gurvich crowded the canvas with layers of muted colors and boldly outlined images. At first, the kinetic composition tells of the artist’s zeal for kibbutz life. Look at it a little longer, and the story expands beyond the kibbutz; it moves into Latin America, where Gurvich’s handRead More


To Move or Not To Move: A Monumental Decision

By Jeremi Suri

Aliya: Three Generations

Of American-Jewish Immigration To Israel By Liel Leibovitz St. Martin’s Press, 288 pages, $24.95. * * *The past four centuries of American history are dominated by one overriding trend: immigration. People from every continent have, for very diverse reasons, moved in large numbers to a self-proclaimedRead More


The Persistence of Memory

By Joshua Cohen

The Last Jew By Yoram Kaniuk, translated by Barbara Harshav Grove Press, 544 pages, $26. * * *To name a thing is to give it life. And to write is to name. As Adam, the first man, is referred to in Latin as prothoplastus, cognate to our protoplasm, tradition might call the last man standing by the name ultimaplastus. He will be a survivor ofRead More


‘Memoirs of a Muse’

Novel Jews is a critically acclaimed downtown reading series that presents provocative and enlightening new fiction and literary nonfiction by today’s literary superstars and by the emerging voices of tomorrow. The event is co-sponsored by the 14th Street Y and the Forward. This month, we present Lara Vapnyar and Ilana Stanger-Ross.

LaraRead More


Cabaret Comes Back to Life

By Ben Levisohn

As the 19th century drew to a close, the Jews of Eastern Europe were on the move. Fleeing oppression and searching for economic opportunity, thousands made their way to the United States in a great wave of immigration. But many others headed to Vienna, the heart of the Hapsburg Empire. They brought with them their language, songs and stories andRead More


Horror Flicks

By David R. Slavitt

At the start of this portion, we have a continuation of the plagues, with the threat — and then the carrying out of the threat — of locusts. This is already the eighth plague. And as my ex-brother-in-law used to remark, it is much like the early scenes in horror movies, where somebody turns on the faucet in the kitchen and, instead of water,Read More


A Beatnik Finds Treasure In His Grandfather’s Beats

By Jon Kalish

A Manhattan record label and a Minnesota distributor/publisher of spoken word audio, including books and radio programs, are among the companies that have expressed interest in a rare collection of Jewish liturgical recordings made in the 1950s, much to the relief of Lionel Ziprin, who has been trying to get the recordings out in the world forRead More


Aleppo on Ocean Parkway

By Judy Bolton-Fasman

From Baghdad to Brooklyn: Growing Up

In a Jewish-Arabic Family in Midcentury America By Jack Marshall Coffee House Press, 256 pages, $16. * * *To have an identity strung together with hyphens is to live in several worlds at once. “From Baghdad to Brooklyn,” Jack Marshall’s beautifully crafted memoir, evokes an entire galaxy.Read More


Elegy for a Fighter

By Paul Buhle

Barney Ross By Douglas Century Nextbook (Schocken), 205 pages, $19.95. * * *If attitudes toward Jewish boxers do not offer an all-encompassing symbol of continuing change in the social and cultural tastes of American Jewry, they probably come close. One of the many revealing anecdotes in this marvelously insightful study of the immigrantRead More





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